July 31, 2002
Have we all gone crazy with blind patriotism? I wonder. War
against Afghanistan was crazy enough, and now, after not being
able to solve the fundamental problem - terrorism by a small
group of Islamic fundamentalists, we are now rushing headlong
into yet another war, with Iraq, without provocation, without
justification, except for what the Bush administration refers
to as a necessary "regime change."
Sounds so simple. Get rid of Saddam Hussein. Throughout the
last gulf war, the U.S. tried to target Hussein and failed
to get him. Now, the seeming proposal is to bomb the living
hell out of Baghdad, and all will be well - we'll get `im.
In the last gulf war, we had, between field and support troops,
almost 600,000 men and women at risk, from half-a-dozen countries.
Now, we propose to waltz in with 50,000 or so and wipe out
Hussein, and, possibly, all of Baghdad, as well.
Who's kidding who here? Is there a motive? Yes, possibly.
As one recent commentator opined, perhaps George W. Bush has
a hard-on for Saddam Hussein because Hussein reportedly arranged
for an assassination attempt on Dubya's revered father in
1993 (little evidence made public to support same, though),
and Dubya is the sort of fella to always hold a grudge, especially
when Poppy is concerned. Is it possible that Dubya is bending
the entire military to his own private vendetta?
Geez, who knows? Dubya won't tell the truth about anything,
so how are we lowly citizens to know the truth about war on
The public facts are, to date, that there's no solid connection
between Sept. 11th and Iraq's leadership. It's also public
fact that Hussein is pretty much a complete asshole - a classic
dictator, without much appreciation for his people or his
role in his geographical region or his standing amongst Muslims,
either. Nevertheless, one of the more military, straight-up
guys in the eye of the press today, Scott Ritter, is saying
that there's no reason to attack Iraq because of its WMD capabilities.
All that said, the U.S. cannot make the mistake of using
its power to arbitrarily install a shadow government in Iraq,
simply because it's convenient to our interests. Those interests
are oil, praise be. Let's review, briefly: Iraq has no weapon
whatsoever which can reach the United States. Iraq has, after
the destruction of most of its chemical and biological warfare
capability, little left with which to fight its neighbors,
and can only, back against the wall, fire off a few SCUDs
against Israel or descending U.S. troops, which it would certainly
do if cornered. Against a few pop `n glo SCUDs, Israel can
launch a hundred or more nuclear weapons. Israel restrained
from doing so in the last gulf war, but this time?, not a
chance. Under Sharon's leadership, they'll do everything they
can to put Armageddon in Hussein's backyard.
Maybe the wilder, more suicidal of Bush's minions will beat
Israel to the punch, and use tactical nuclear weapons on Baghdad.
That's what the latest Nuclear Posture Review promises. Tactical
nuclear weapons in pre-emptive strikes.
Apart from the simple horror of even considering such a means
of minimizing the deaths of Americans and accomplishing an
aim, there is a simpler and more basic question to be considered:
what right do we have do to so? Is there a fundamental difference
between Osama bin Laden's attempt to disrupt our country's
way of life and the Bush administration's desire to arbitrarily
unseat a dictator in Iraq? If the issue were simply dictatorship
and lack of democracy, one would expect nuclear attack on
Myanmar, and repudiation of the Pedro Carmonas takeover of
But, no, it's more complicated than that. It's about expedient
aims. Get rid of Hussein, possibly for personal reasons, but
which action also opens up all sorts of other possibilities.
With another regime in place, however unstable, American firms
would be free to sell to Iraq, and control its oil operations.
Somehow, that misses yet another point: since when does America
openly wage war against the people of other countries without
provocation? We've fought regimes with the aid of the CIA,
under cover, but rarely, if ever, attacked a country without
open provocation, without being attacked first. Such runs
counter to our avowed role in the world at large. To suddenly
launch attacks on any country, at will, is to subject the
American people to retaliation for which they are little prepared,
and will be no more prepared after Congress and Bush enact
new laws to submerge our rights in a silly attempt to counter
the terrorism which other of the administration's policies
To do so is to forever condemn the U.S. in the eyes of all
Muslims, everywhere in the world. To do so is to forever condemn
the citizens of the U.S. to random terrorist attacks, and
to condemn the citizens of the U.S. to increasingly repressive
administrative fiats in opposition of Constitutional law.
As with the PATRIOT ACT, TIPS, and the Homeland Security
Agency Act, war against Iraq is part of a pattern of attack
upon the rights of the American people, rather than a solution
to the problem of terrorism. It is a stone-age response to
a complicated 21st century problem.
The old parable of the subjects of the king who have drunk
from the poisoned well and have gone insane has been reversed.
Bush and his close advisers have drunk from the wells of paranoia,
xenophobia, secrecy and vendetta, and have bidden all their
citizens to do the same, a simple task made simpler by drinking
from the one well of false patriotism, which combines the
poisons of all the other wells.
America can rise above the venal interests of George W. Bush
and his ilk, but not without repudiating him and them through
the popular vote. Americans cannot be proud of what is about
to come. Americans would not wish on themselves what they
will soon allow their representatives and president to do
to others in the world. To attack another Muslim country invites
further attack on us. Such a decision is foolhardy and, frankly,
If the American people support war on Iraq, it seems obvious
and inevitable that the American people will suffer, too,
eventually, because of that attack. To support the insane
in the current administration is to drink from a poisoned
punpirate is a writer, living in New Mexico, who wants
to believe that the American people are smarter, and still
saner, than the representatives they vote for.